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Han Sound Audio ZENTOO

Rating:
5/5,
  1. crabdog
    Premium build, accessible price
    Written by crabdog
    Published Nov 1, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality
    Value for money
    Quality components
    Bass warmth and midrange body
    Cons - Splitter is a bit large
    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_13.jpg

    *This review was originally posted on my blog.

    Han Sound Audio is a Taiwan-based company that manufactures high-quality upgrade cables for headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs). In this review, I’m checking out their most affordable model, the Han Sound Audio Zentoo, a 4-core OCC copper Litz cable with unique spiral T-twisted tech. Zentoo (Zen 2) is the second generation of Han Sound’s Zen cable. Let’s see how it performs.

    Website: http://www.hansoundaudio.com/default.aspx

    This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.

    *Prior to testing, the Agni MK2 unit used for this review was run-in for 72 hours using the Telos QBT machine, courtesy of BKK Audio.

    Package and Accessories

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_2.jpg


    Like we saw with the Agni MK2 and Kimera, the Zentoo is packaged in Han Sound Audio’s classic black cardboard box. On the top is a brand logo in silver and on one side of the box, there’s a white sticker displaying the model name, connector and plug type. Inside the box, the cable is nestled in a circular, black foam insert with a thin layer of foam on top of the cable itself for extra protection. Also included is a leather cable wrap, embossed with the brand name.

    Build Quality and Design
    After my experience with the Kimera and Agni MK2 cables, I knew the Zentoo would be a quality product, at least in terms of build and materials. Zentoo utilizes a 24 AWG wire which is thicker than the Agni MK2 (26 AWG) and thinner than the Kimera (23 AWG).

    It is woven in Han Sound’s preferred Milliot or rounded braid style and has a clear UV-PVC jacket. Being a pure copper cable, Zentoo has a richer, darker colour than the Kimera and with its neat hand-weaved braid is definitely easy on the eyes.

    Zentoo sports HanSound’s own plug, which is available in 2.5mm/3.5mm/4.4mm sizes. The 2.5mm balanced plug is made with phosphor bronze material and the 3.5mm and 4.4mm balanced plugs are tellurium copper material.

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_9.jpg


    Components
    As usual, I went for a 2.5mm termination for maximum compatibility; it’s easier to go from 2.5mm to 4.4mm with an adapter than it is the other way around. I also went with 2-pin connectors because the format is more common than MMCX for high-end iems (and it’s also my preferred type).

    Zentoo has the same smooth, polished connector housings as the rest of their product lineup. While I appreciate colour-coded housings, I would prefer to see them use something with a bit of texture to provide extra grip when handling.

    The brand’s standard metal, chisel-top Y-split is still here with the logo in the centre, accompanied by the matching metal cable cinch. Lastly, the cable terminates with the gold-plated phosphor bronze 2.5mm Han Sound Audio plug with it’s textured, honeycomb surface.

    Han Sound Audio_16.jpg

    Handling and Aesthetic
    .There are no pre-formed ear guides. It seems that currently, the only 2 models have them are the Torfa and Venom. This, of course, means that the Zentoo can be worn over-ear or straight down, making it more versatile and compatible with most iems.

    With a softness rating of 5/5, Zentoo handles like a dream. It’s supple, hangs comfortably with no kinks or memory and has almost no cable noise/microphonics. When it comes to appearance, Zentoo shines with a natural lustre. Its pure copper DNA is clearly visible through the transparent PVC cover. It is a little surprising that Zentoo shares the same handling and aesthetic traits of many of the company’s much more expensive cables. Bonus!

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_15.jpg

    Sound Impressions
    Sources used: Shanling M5s / iBasso DX120 / FiiO K3

    So what are the benefits of upgrading to a pure copper cable other than improved handling and ergonomics? In general, copper cables add warmth and body but the effects can vary significantly between different cables, depending on materials, wire gauge (thickness), wire count and according to some, even braiding pattern.

    Zentoo does have a slightly warmer than neutral character which enhances bass impact and extension. Incidentally, the bass gains body and depth which carries over into the midrange giving it a soft, smoother glow.

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_11.jpg

    Unlike the fiery and energetic Ares Audio Kasai, the Han Sound Audio Zentoo has a calmer tone but it does not sacrifice resolution in any way. It has a rounder bass that produces a weightier response but one that retains its texture.

    Zentoo creates a smoother midrange, a consequence of the extra note size and body. Vocals sound slightly fuller though they’re not positioned any more forward or emphasized. The size of the soundstage and tone are preserved but the midrange presentation feels more relaxed.

    Similarly, the treble is denser and warmer in tone. Subsequently, it is slightly wetter and less precise but the upside is a more natural character. Where Kasai’s treble is vivid and energetic, Zentoo makes it smoother and more even, perfect for brighter iems.

    Select Pairings

    Itsfit Fusion

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_6.jpg

    The Fusion has a very clean sound with remarkable instrument separation. Paired with Zentoo, the Fusion takes on a warmer, more natural tone. Its moderate bass gets a nice boost in impact and weight which gives the overall presentation more fullness. The midrange becomes richer and smoother. Additionally, Fusion’s remarkable magnetostatic-driven treble takes on more density, making it even creamier than before.

    Fearless S8F


    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_5.jpg

    S8F is an energetic sounding iem with upfront and brighter presentation. Along with the extra bass impact, Zentoo infuses S8F’s midrange with some added body that makes it sound more organic and natural. Vocals are full-bodied, upfront and physical as if you could reach out and touch them. The treble tone is warmer and more even, making the S8F calmer up top.

    Custom Art FIBAE 2

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_4.jpg

    Custom Art’s FIBAE 2 is a dual balanced armature driver iem with a light V-shaped signature. Zentoo fills out the BA bass and gives it extra body. But it’s the midrange where FIBAE 2 sees the real benefits of this all copper cable. Mids and vocals sit more forward and gain fullness from Zentoo’s warmth. Treble is subtly attenuated and the rounder notes make it softer and more laidback.

    Han Sound Audio Zentoo_1.jpg

    Conclusion
    Priced at around $150, the Han Sound Audio Zentoo offers a more accessible way to experience a premium upgrade cable. Considering it has comparable build quality and handling of the higher end and higher-priced models, Zentoo is a fantastic entry-level model that shows no compromises despite its lower cost. If you’ve been looking for a cable to take your iem game to a new level or are just looking for a solid all-copper solution, it’s hard to look past this one.

    Features
    • 4-wire OCC copper Litz with unique spiral T-twisted tech
    • Gauge: 24 AWG / each wire
    • Softness: ★★★★★
    • Standard plug: HanSound’s own plug 2.5/3.5mm
    • Compatible with 2P IEM, MMCX(incl. AKG), ODC, UE, Fitear, A2DC etc.
      Redcarmoose likes this.
  2. Redcarmoose
    Wow!
    Written by Redcarmoose
    Published Oct 15, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Handcrafted Beauty With Sound To Match
    Cons - The ZENTOO Offers Slightly Less Warmth (But Adds Clarity) In Contrast To Han Sound Audio’s Original “Zen”
    662B94FD-8756-420C-BE96-FC86BA42334F.gif Han Sound Audio ZENTOO 4-wire OCC litz copper cable
    Vs
    Han Sound Audio ZEN 4-wire OCC litz copper cable


    27DC86EB-143A-4F26-B071-BF45CAAE39DD.jpeg

    Let’s find out if the just released ZENTOO cable is a downgrade or an upgrade?


    Get it here for $158 USD with 4.4mm Pentaconn plug
    https://music-sanctuary.com/collect...und-audio-zentoo-4-wire-occ-copper-litz-cable

    This review concerns itself primarily with the differences you get upgrading to the ZENTOO 4 core IEM cable over the older original Zen 4 core IEM cable.

    In the world of audio it’s nice when a company can come out with an improved-new-model and price it exactly the same as the old model. Plus......as you may know, there has been a big change in our hobby the last couple years with popular Chi-Fi budget cables coming out in droves. Hence it makes you wonder if some unknown on-line $20-$40 cable is going to offer the same or better than our entry level Han Sound Audio ZENTOO? Sadly, I’m not going to be able to get to that style of comparison, though I have some experience with the included standard cables you get with $200-$500 Chi-Fi IEMs......... and feel the Han Sound Zen 4 core and this ZENTOO 4 core does offer upgrade.


    The Feel Good Factor:
    Han Sound Audio, though relatively new, has been a behind the scenes cable manufacturer for the last 9 years. Based originality in Taiwan, they have both the past experience and the amazing new reputation of building some of the finest aftermarket IEM cables. Their cables are all handmade, come in incredible packaging, and offer some of the finest cable build accessories to boot.Take note Han Sound Audio’s top-end (Crazy League) upgrade-cables are priced in the $2000 range. It could be stated that the ZENTOO 4 core is their best value. Keep in mind there is also an 8 core version newly released too!


    Han Sound Audio offers a wide range of cables in a multitude of price ranges and sonic personalities.
    http://www.hansoundaudio.com/about.aspx

    6E9BB3B2-5269-435F-8654-AD9EB7CADF31.jpeg

    Trust:
    After spending a year with the original Zen cable I was curious about what the ZENTOO would provide. Was it going to be a downgrade or an upgrade? Amazingly I can say it’s a great success; so much so that if you had a choice it’s almost a no brainer to just get the ZENTOO. Reason being is due to a slight upgrade in imaging structure and detail. Though this is so subtle it’s maybe not a reason for original “Zen” owners to simply upgrade. Though maybe?

    The original Zen 4 core is slightly warmer. This is THE important factor if you going to be trying to add warmth. So in my use with combination of the Sony 1A and Noble Audio Encore Universal IEM........the original (warmer) Zen 4 core is probably the best choice.

    Keep in mind your results may vary from mine. But often with cables we need to balance attributes and personalities. In my book musical tone wins out over soundstage and detail. With aftermarket cables.........an unlimited budget means there are lots of choices........but at this price point the choices start to narrow. With that said tone and character personality are prominent with imaging and soundstage secondary. IMO


    Luckily the ZENTOO wins out on price, tone and detail/imaging with my reference rig!

    A75C12DA-2E34-45A7-973F-5EF5F9C5F77C.jpeg

    So....if your guessing you want a refined low end and midrange with better clarity at the sake of losing a smidge of warmth, the ZENTOO is an easy choice! Really this statement encapsulates the review.......end of story.


    At times tone is the most important goal when trying to EQ with different cables. Remember too, this tuning concept can be the reason someone upgrades to a megabuck pure silver or gold-silver combination; as they are looking to achieve the highest detail possible in their portable system with price as no object. Here we are at the “entry-level” outskirts of the phenomenon yet the concepts are still important.


    In my uses the ZENTOO offers an affordable level upgrade path to one of my favorite combinations.............the Sony 1Z and Noble Encore IEM. This combination works out as I’m not looking for more warmth but trying to get slightly more detail and imaging along with a desired tone and cable personality. There is also the cable upgrade physicality (build structure) and good looks which enhance our listening experience. And guess what? Han Sound has nailed it. For the price these cost not only do they feel good and seem well made; but the sound signature is uniformly correct and filled with dynamic excitement and charm. Han Sound Audio has now chosen a cable which offers better (ultra-soft) handleability than the original Zen 4 core. The original would also age to become slightly stiff over time; and we are informed now that this has been corrected; though only time will tell.

    7968755D-AE81-46AF-92A3-7ED5E88F717C.jpeg


    Summery:
    If you find an older original Zen 4 core it will offer the Furutech 4.4mm plug and a larger Y splitter, also not anodized. The new ZENTOO offers a smaller anodized splitter as well as a new Han Sound Audio branded “bespoke” plug. Both cables have a nice coherent way about them, making them not only a value but good allrounders allowing to be joined to a bunch of different IEM-DAP combos. Though now with the ZENTOO there is no worry of low end fog; all has been cleaned up thus creating enhanced detail top to bottom. Where before there was just a bass tone, now due to an increase in resolution we can actually identify texture and shape. These changes come as the result of less overall warmth though the cable sounds perfect; being the farthest thing from bright or edgy in my use. What we are offered here is a beautiful build quality along with smooth intoxicating audio improvements.


    Danger:
    This is a warning that the ZENTOO is so well balanced and likable, that it may start you on a dangerous cable upgrade path.
    Disclaimer:
    I hold no responsibility for your future cable upgrades, your on your own.

    Good Stuff:
    1. Well Made
    2. Looks Impressive
    3. Chicks Dig Em
    4. Perfect And Likable Tone Response (With the right gear)
    5. Heavy Increase In Imaging And Separation
    6. Well Rounded Audio Bliss On A Budget


    The Not So Good:
    1. A Slight Attenuation Of Warmth. (This could be a good or a bad thing, depending on application)



    How’d I do this:
    These are my own words. I walked in and purchased the ZENTOO with my own funds at full retail. I primarily used the original Zen 4 core for the prior year with 4 different IEMs.

    4BDB0F0A-676D-4CCB-8B37-A919AADB7B00.jpeg

    Features:
    ◆4-wire OCC copper Litz with unique spiral T-twisted tech
    ◆Gauge: 24 AWG / each wire
    ◆Softness: ★★★★★
    ◆Standard plug: HanSound's own plug 2.5/3.5mm
    ◆Compatible with 2P IEM, MMCX(incl. AKG), ODC, UE, Fitear, A2DC etc.
      crabdog likes this.